Customer Support vs Customer Success – Know the Difference


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We often hear people using customer support and customer success interchangeably but they are totally different tactics.

Customer support refers to solving problems and fixing issues faced by customers. So, in a way, it’s more of a reactive approach. On the other hand, customer success is a proactive strategy of providing customers with bespoke solutions.

If you run a product-based company, your customer support team answers your customers’ product-related queries and solves the issues they face. The team also helps improve the product based on customer feedback.

Your customer success team, on the other hand, strives to explore how your product helps your customers achieve their objectives. The goal here is to ensure that your product is the right fit based on the constantly changing needs of your customers.

So, customer support and customer success are not the same. Let’s find out what sets them apart.

Exploring Customer Support

Whether your company represents a product or offers services, customer support is important. Around 63% of customers are likely to revisit a company’s website if it has live chat support.

Customer support either helps customers find solutions to the problems they’re facing or solves the issues for them. Unlike customer success, customer support is a reactive strategy. Here, a customer reaches out to you for assistance.

A learned support team not only solves the problems of your customers but also gathers potential leads for you.

Customer support can be categorized into customer service and technical support. Customer service caters to generic queries and solves problems for users like product inquiries and billing issues. Technical support, on the other hand, caters to problems that are a bit more intricate to solve.

Exploring Customer Success

Customer success strengthens your relationship with current and potential customers. The objectives may vary from one company to another but the ultimate goal that customer success strives to achieve is providing customers with personalized experiences.

Around 50% of people believe that brands become more relevant if they offer inclusive experiences. This means that the key features of your product should be accessible to and be used by your customers with ease.

Product improvement is the key here. However, you can’t design a flawless product from the get-go. You work your way up. And this is where customer success truly shines.

Customer success identifies and removes the bottlenecks that can jeopardize the customer experience. Since 88% of customers rely on online reviews and recommendations, customer success becomes all the more important for ensuring positive word of mouth.

Customer success helps your target audience achieve their objectives by keeping your product or service as the center of attention. Moreover, customer success helps people use a product to its full potential to ensure unending satisfaction.

Customer success is a proactive tactic that helps you leverage industry best practices, customer health, technology stack, and other key metrics to continually improve the value proposition.

Exploring Key Differences

Transient vs Ongoing

Customer support refers to tentative interactions between your brand and customers. The event starts off when a customer reaches out to you and ends when you provide them with a fitting solution for their problem.

Customer success caters to an ongoing customer experience. The needs of your customers change with time. So does their perception of your product or service. Customer support assesses those behaviors preemptively and helps you redesign the buyer’s journey.

Around 88% of people’s buying decisions are influenced by reviews. Customer success plays the key role here as it elevates brand loyalty via facilitating personalized experiences.

Reactive vs Proactive

Customer support is reactive as you wait for customers to reach out to you. Customer support doesn’t proactively solve problems or strive to improve customer experiences. Customer success, on the other hand, is proactive. Here, you tailor the solutions and evolve based on the ever-changing needs of your customers.

Issue-Oriented vs Goal-Oriented

Customer support focuses on solving issues for customers in the best way possible. These problems can be minor, major, technical, or non-technical. The motto of customer support is to solve customer concerns and address their queries as quickly as possible. Since 82% of customers want their queries addressed swiftly, timeliness is always a priority for customer support.

Customer success has a goal-oriented approach. The core focus here is improving the overall customer experience by helping customers achieve their objectives seamlessly by using your product or service as a solution.

Satisfaction-Driven vs Value-Driven

Customer satisfaction is something that drives customer support. Be it answering customer queries or solving their problems, the end goal is to ensure satisfaction. On the other hand, customer satisfaction serves as a baseline indicator for gauging customer success. The ultimate goal of customer success is to increase the value proposition of your brand.

Revenue-Focused vs Growth Focused

Customer support is generally revenue-driven. You either try to get more business by responding to the queries of prospects or maximize customer retention via aftersale services.

Customer success goes beyond generating revenue and minimizing churn. It helps businesses broaden their horizons by exploring growth opportunities. Customer success suggests product improvements, comes up with new product ideas, and even boosts your revenue via up-selling and cross-selling.

Departmental vs Holistic

For customer support, you hire a team of professionals with excellent problem-solving and communication skills followed by knowledge of your product or service. Now, it’s their responsibility to answer customer queries or address their concerns.

In contrast, customer success is more of a holistic way approach. It’s a collaborative effort where different domains strive to achieve a common goal. A single team is not obligated for ensuring seamless customer experiences. Because it just can’t. It has to be a company-wide objective.

So there you have it. The differences between customer support and customer success.

Customer success is comparatively a newer tactic. It is a bit more holistic compared to customer support and has different objectives. Customer support, on the other hand, refers to domain-centric operations that ensure customer satisfaction.

It’s the similarities between the two that often stir up confusion. But, they’re completely different mechanisms as per their respective workflows.

Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin is the co-founder and president of OptinMonster. He is an expert software architect with a deep knowledge of building products for the mass market and consistently works to delight his customers.


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